06 October 2000

The European Commission will press ahead with attempts to outlaw tobacco advertising, despite yesterday’s decision by the European Court of Justice that the proposed blanket ban is illegal.

Health commissioner David Byrne insisted that the court had acknowledged the EC’s right to restrict tobacco ads. However, he admitted “We need to ensure that the legislation concerned and the legal base are compatible”.

The EC is expected to push through an express directive regulating tobacco contents and labelling in the near future. Byrne denied that this would be affected by the Court of Justice ruling, yet John Carlisle, a director at the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, claimed that parts of the new directive appeared illegal.

Although the Court ruled that a blanket ban was illegal and “in no way” justified as helping the single market, the EU could impose partial bans in certain areas of tobacco marketing.

The UK’s proposed tobacco regulation was also challenged by yesterday’s ruling. The government subsequently announced they would introduce primary legislation to introduce a ban on advertising.

News source: Financial Times